Cooking a turkey can be the easiest part of your Thanksgiving meal. Blue Jean Chef Meredith Laurence teaches you how to brine and roast a turkey. Full turkey recipe below:
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Basic Turkey Brine Recipe
For a 12 pound turkey
10 ounces kosher salt (roughly 1¼ cups Morton’s or 1¾ cups Diamond Crystal)
¾ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
5 sprigs of fresh sage
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 bay leaves
5 crushed garlic cloves
3 to 4 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
the peel of 2 oranges
1 to 2 gallons cold water
For roasting the turkey:
Cloves of garlic
2 to 4 cups of chicken stock, turkey stock, or white wine (or a combination)
1. Combine the salt, sugar, fresh herbs, garlic, chili peppers, peppercorns and orange peel in a saucepan with about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar and then remove it from the heat.
2. Cool the brine completely and then pour the brine over the turkey in a brining bag or large vessel that will fit into your refrigerator. Fill the vessel with cold water so that the turkey is covered and refrigerate.
3. Brine turkey for 8 to 18 hours. Then remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse the turkey well and dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack in the roasting pan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to dry.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 450ºF and remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter while the oven pre-heats.
5. Do not season the turkey again before roasting. Brush melted butter on the turkey breast and legs, and stuff fresh herbs and smashed cloves of garlic inside the cavity of the turkey. Pour the stock or wine into the bottom of the roasting pan and transfer the turkey to the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 350ºF. Roast the turkey for 13 minutes per pound, but start checking the temperature of the turkey at least 30 minutes before you expect it to be finished. Baste the turkey with the drippings every 45 minutes or so and add more water to the roasting pan if the dripping evaporate too quickly. If the breast starts to brown too quickly, simply tent it with aluminum foil. When the internal temperature of the turkey (taken in the breast meat, the inside thigh and the outside thigh) reaches 165ºF, remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest on the counter, covered loosely with aluminum foil for at least 30 minutes before carving.